Ask the dean: Julie Johnson

Ask the dean: Julie Johnson

In 2013, UF Health welcomed three new deans. In this issue, we highlight the College of Pharmacy’s new dean, Julie Johnson, Pharm.D. Although new to the deanship, Johnson is not new to UF. She’s been on the faculty since 1998. Here she answers a few questions about the future of pharmacy and her goals as dean.


Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy/By Maria Belen Farias

Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy/By Maria Belen Farias

Q: As the field of pharmacy moves forward, what are the key things you feel the college must accomplish?

A: The role of the pharmacist is continuing to evolve and in the three-plus decades that I’ve been involved in pharmacy I think things are changing now faster than ever before. We have a responsibility to prepare our students with the knowledge and patient-related skills they need to practice now, and also the lifelong learning and other skills that will allow them to adapt to change. We are refining our curriculum for the entering class of 2015, and are thinking seriously about how we prepare students who will likely practice into the 2060s. As we continue to build top research programs in the College of Pharmacy, there is clear evidence that the strongest programs get there in part through interdisciplinary collaboration. We are fortunate to be a member of the UF Health Science Center, with resources and experts from so many health colleges, centers and institutes who can work together. Our research programs are well-positioned to contribute to patient care and national health initiatives, and the college must take the next step in advancing its research collaborations. There are also rapid changes in health care that are creating unique and exciting opportunities for pharmacists. We are working to establish practice models in these new areas so that our faculty can model for our students and provide evidence for the value of pharmacists in these new settings so that these practice roles can be disseminated across the state and nation.

Q: What kind of leader are you?

A: Over the years, I have built a strong research program and led international efforts in pharmacogenomics research that required me to have strong leadership skills. In addition, my time as a department chair and director of the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program required further refinement of those skills. I feel very strongly about leading by empowering others — thus I have a very team-based approach to leadership. I don’t think I’ll ever be described as a micro-manager. I am also very data-driven in my decision-making — something that I believe derives naturally from my background as a scientist and clinician. Finally, it is important to me to treat people fairly and to be a good listener, and even if I make decisions they do not like, it is important that I provide them the opportunity to express their ideas.

Q: What are you most proud of within the college?

A: There are many things of which to be proud about the college. We have students who are hardworking and already have an amazing passion for the profession. It makes me feel excited about the future of pharmacy. We also have a highly dedicated faculty and staff who work together to achieve excellence in the various missions of the college and respect the roles that each person contributes to the whole.

Q: What are your goals for your tenure as dean?

A: In keeping with the University of Florida mission of preeminence, we are striving for our college to be among the top few in the country. We are fortunate to have funding that is allowing me to build our faculty base — not only in numbers, but also to recruit nationally recognized researchers with strong programs. With that foundation, my top goals are to:

• Enhance the research productivity of faculty.

• Enrich the quality of the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program to ensure that our students have a strong foundational knowledge, solid lifelong learning skills, and all the other skills (communication, empathy, etc) that are essential to being a successful practitioner.

• Improve practice models for clinical faculty through increased collaboration with the UF Health Shands Hospital pharmacy, other UF health professions colleges and other health care organizations.